Archive for the ‘nonfiction’ Category

Fellows Notes – Jan 17

Monday, January 9th, 2017

Each month, we share the news and honors of Artist Fellows & Finalists. Here’s the newest, in this new month of the new year.

Cover art for BEFORE YOU by Rebecca Doughty (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2017)

Regie Gibson, Letta Neely, Monica Raymond, and David Valdes Greenwood are among the artists whose work will be performed at Pinning Our Hopes, an evening of poems and scenes exploring the years ahead under the new president. The show, which is curated by David Valdes Greenwood, has two performances (1/14, 4 PM and 8 PM) and is free/donation-based.

Marky Kauffmann and Rania Matar both have photography in Outspoken: Seven Women Photographers at the de Menil Gallery at Groton School (opening reception 1/18, 7 PM). Marky Kauffmann curated the exhibition.

Kenji Nakayama and Ben Sloat are among the artists in the exhibition All That Glitters Is Not Gold at Drive-by Projects (1/28-3/11, reception 1/28, 4-6 PM).

Rachel Perry, Joe Wardwell, and Deb Todd Wheeler are among the artists exhibiting in Loud and Clear at Miller Yezerski Gallery (1/6-2/7).

Daniela Rivera and Evelyn Rydz are both exhibiting in latinx@mericañaza at Samson Projects.

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Kati Agócs had the U.S. premiere of her string quarter Tantric Variations, performed by the Cecilia String Quartet on Stradivari instruments, at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. in December.

Alexandra Anthony has a one-week theatrical run of her film Lost in the Bewilderness in Athens, Greece (1/12-1/18) at the Alkyonis Art Cinema. National Greek TV (ERT) will broadcast the film 1/15. The film’s December premiere in Greece received press attention in Madame Figaro and THETOC.gr.

Carrie Bennett has poetry in Issue 30 of jubilat.

Steven Bogart has a staged reading of his play Rehearsal at First Church in Boston Unitarian Universalist (1/24, 7 PM).

David Bookbinder has recently published two books: 52 (more) Flower Mandalas (an adult coloring book collaboration with Mary O’Malley) and Paths to Wholeness: Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas.

Rebecca Doughty has a new picture book, Before You, which will have a book launch event at Joie de Vivre in Cambridge (1/15, 4-6 PM).

Michael Dowling co-wrote the feature film Brave New Jersey, and it’s screening at the Berkshire Film Festival (1/12, 6 PM reception, 7 PM screening, q&a to follow).

Samantha Fields has a performative sculptural installation in the exhibition Is this Something at the Lasell College Wedeman Gallery (1/24-2/11, reception 1/29, 4-6 PM). Next summer, she will be Artist-in-Residence at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Wisconsin.

Sean Greene has a solo exhibition, Impulse Control, at the Williston Northampton School Grubbs Gallery (thru 1/30, reception 1/14, 1 PM).

Carrie Gustafson is exhibiting in the New York Ceramics and Glass Fair (1/18-1/22).

Michael Hoerman‘s poems “Disoriented Fascination,” “The God-box Killer,” and “The B-side of Stuxnet,” published in Eureka Literary Magazine, were nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

Eric Hofbauer‘s album Three Places in New England (with The Eric Hofbauer Quintet) was named one of the Boston Globe’s Top Ten Jazz Albums of 2016.

Joel Janowitz has a solo exhibition, Protected Trees, presented by Cambridge Arts at Gallery 344 (1/23-4/7, reception 1/30, 6-8 PM).

Niho Kozuru is among the artists in Plastic Imagination Fitchburg Art Museum (thru 1/15).

Scott Listfield is exhibiting in Supersonic Invitational (New York City), Platinum Blend 3 at Modern Eden Gallery (San Francisco), BRINK at Antler Gallery (Portland), and a Rick and Morty-themed exhibition at Gallery 1988 in LA.

Caitlin McCarthy is included in the book The Top 100 Indie Writers in the World.

Nathalie Miebach is in the group show Weather or Not, That Is the Question at the Children’s Museum of New York City (1/16-5/23). She’s also exhibiting in Rooted, Revived, Reinvented: Basketry in America at the University of Missouri Museum of Art and Archeology (1/27-5/14).

Anna Ross has a poem, Back Porch Aubade, published on Harvard Review Online.

Evelyn Rydz‘s exhibition Floating Artifacts is at Tufts University Art Gallery (1/24-5/21, opening reception 1/26, 5-7:30 PM). As mentioned above, she’s also exhibiting in latinx@mericañaza at Samson Projects.

Jenine Shereos has a solo show of new work, Thaw, at Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston (1/14-3/8, reception 2/25, 5-7 PM).

Karen Skolfield won the Jeffrey Smith Editors’ Prize in poetry at Missouri Review.

Shubha Sunder wrote about the writing workshop experience for the Grub Street’s GrubWrites blog.

Read past Fellows Notes. If you’re a past fellow/finalist with news, let us know.

Image: cover art for BEFORE YOU by Rebecca Doughty (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2017).

How Do You Approach Art-making During Times of Emotional Distress?

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

Recently, WBUR had a story about how events out of our control – such as the recent election – create stress and internal turmoil that can disrupt all aspects of our lives.

For artists creating (or trying to create) new work, this can mean a serious disruption of their art-making process. We asked artists, How do you approach art-making during times of emotional distress?

Jodie Mim Goodnough, NORTHAMPTON STATE HOSPITAL (2015) from the PROSPECT project, Three Inkjet Prints on Cotton Lawn, 36x78 in

Jodie Mim Goodnough, multidisciplinary artist
My work for years has been about emotional distress, both mild and pathological, and the coping mechanisms we use to self-soothe, so you’d think I’d have all the tools I need. Based on the research for my recent work, what I should be doing is going for long walks in the woods and taking deep breaths of forest air. What I’m actually doing, however, is sitting on the couch reading about how much better I would feel if I went for a walk in the woods.

But if I’ve learned one thing, it’s that you can’t beat yourself up for slowing down occasionally – it only compounds the misery. When I don’t have it in me to hit the studio I do small things in the direction of productivity. I research and I plan for future projects. And I look for non-art tasks that feel productive as well, like studying Spanish. I’m currently living in Providence, which has a large Latino population. I feel like I need to find ways to better connect with people in my community right now, and learning another language, even at a basic level, will help me do that.

Jessica Reik, writer
There are always emotions. Some of them are more uncomfortable for me to be with than others. Some, like elation, feel really good but interfere with my ability to write – elation wants the external and so I’m out doing, not home writing! Fear, sadness, insecurity, they pose different challenges. Seeming bottomless (they never are), they threaten to take over the executive self and with it, all those evolved capacities of the human brain – like perspective – I rely on to write.

I like to sit with a difficult emotion and feel where it’s lodged in my body, then find out what’s underneath. Take fear (often in my lower abdomen). Fundamentally, it’s a lack of basic safety, so I look for that safety in tangible ways and identify what is trustworthy and supportive — my bones, my breath, the chair I’m sitting in. Simple stuff. I like to give structure for the emotion, a house I’ve built for it to roam around in, because the emotion itself isn’t the problem, it’s my reaction to it.

Always, in the end, I find myself in the same place at the end of this process — back to the work. My writing comes out of those very same vulnerable places where sadness takes root — where all emotions do — and yet is also one of the sources of stability that gets me through.

Michael Joseph, photographer
In times of emotional stress, not only making art, but also viewing art can provide a much-needed emotional release. Often my most productive periods are when I feel a need to disconnect with my own internal stressors and reconnect with life that is happening around me. Grabbing my camera and going for a walk breaks up a physically sedentary day but also an emotionally clouded one.

Street photography is unique in that it allows the artist to be present with the world in a way that working in a studio cannot. It shifts our role from being a participant to being an observer. Working on the street has a unique duality: the sometimes frustrating challenge of dealing with the unforeseen but also the excitement and reward of capturing the serendipitous. Events out of our control and uncertainty therefore become positives. By paying close attention to unpredictable actions and emotions of others in fluid environments, we are forced to focus less on our own internal thoughts to capture external narratives in real time.

I always saw the camera as a powerful tool of connection. Making street portraits of strangers whose personalities and places in the world are different from my own, forces me to engage with others and learn from them. It presents the challenge of making their unique, internal story come to the surface through a portrait. There is no time for subjects to look in the mirror, change clothes, fix hair or put on make-up, and I can’t ask the sun to change or the clouds to move… I am forced to make art from what is before me. And in that reality, I make my most powerful work.

Michael Joseph, SOPHIE (2013), archival pigment print, 16x16 in

 

Jodie Mim Goodnough is a Providence, Rhode Island-based artist whose work revolves around the use of images in psychology and psychiatry, and includes photography, sculpture, performance, video and sound. Recently, she received a 2017 Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Fellowship in Photography and was named a 2017 Traveling Fellow by the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Tufts University. Her work will exhibit in Building a Lineage at Piano Craft Gallery in Boston, January 2017.

Michael Joseph is a street and street portrait photographer. His “Lost and Found” series, which has been featured on CNN, will be included in the December 8 slide presentation night (Dec 8, 6:30 PM) to complement IDENTITY: The List Portraits at The Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles. Recently honored in PhotoLucida’s Critical Mass 2016 Top 50 list, he’ll have work in the accompanying exhibition (Apr 7-May 2 at the Artwork Network Gallery Space in Denver). He has an article coming out in the December issue of the Czech Republic magazine CILICHILI. Find him on Instagram and Facebook.

Writer Jessica Reik was awarded a fellowship position in Grub Street’s Memoir Incubator Program, where she worked on the memoir The Fathom-Long Body. Recently, she received a fellowship to attend a Ucross Foundation residency and was named a finalist in StoryQuarterly Non Fiction Prize. On Tuesday, January 17, 2017, at 7 PM, she’ll read her work in an event featuring MCC literary awardees.

Images: Jodie Mim Goodnough, NORTHAMPTON STATE HOSPITAL (2015) from the PROSPECT project, three Inkjet Prints on cotton lawn, 36×78 in; Michael Joseph, SOPHIE (2013), archival pigment print, 16×16 in.

MCC Literary Artists Read at Trident Booksellers & Cafe

Monday, November 28th, 2016

Every two years, the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) awards grants to some of the most talented writers and poets working in the Commonwealth. Literary artists awarded through MCC’s Artist Fellowships Program will share work at Trident Booksellers and Cafe on Tuesday, January 17, 2017, 7 PM.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017, 7 PM
Trident Booksellers and Cafe, 338 Newbury Street, Boston, MA
Readers:
Christopher Castellani
Scott Challener
Aaron Krol
Sean P. McCarthy
Jessica Reik

Find the event on Facebook.

The event is free, accessible, and open to the public. Watch for more events with MCC-awarded writers and poets in the weeks and months ahead.

Fellows Notes – Oct 16

Thursday, October 6th, 2016

October-y news from current and past MCC Artist Fellows/Finalists.

Shelley Reed, ON THE WALL (AFTER HONDECOETER) (2010), oil on canvas, 48x36 in

Caleb Cole, Dana Filibert, Shelley Reed, and Sarah Wentworth are among the artist exhibiting in Fertile Solitude at the Mills Gallery at Boston Center for the Arts (10/14-12/18, opening reception 10/14, 6-8 PM). The exhibition, curated by FLUX.Boston creator Elizabeth Devlin, explores the idea of reprieve from everyday life through the physical framework of a maze that exhibition visitors are free to explore.

MCC Artist Fellows and Finalists will read at Forbes Library in Northampton (10/19, 7 PM). The readers are D M Gordon, Heather Kamins, Richard Michelson, Sarah Sousa, and Elizabeth Witte. Learn more and find the event on Facebook.

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Sachiko Akiyama has a solo exhibition of paintings and sculptures, Sachiko Akiyama: Between Here and There, at Matter & Light Fine Art (thru 10/31).

Alexandra Anthony‘s film Lost in the Bewilderness screens at the Robbins Library in Arlington, MA (10/20, 7 PM), as part of the Arlington International Film Festival’s 2016 Robbins Library Monthly Film Series. Free and open to the public, Q & A with Alexandra Anthony to follow.

Alice Bouvrie is screening her film A Chance To Dress at MIT (10/13, 7 PM). The filmmaker along with the subjects of the film, Dr. John “Tephra” Southard and his wife, Rev. Jean Southard, will be present for a post-screening Q & A.

Matt Brackett‘s first solo show in Boston in four years will take place at Alpha Gallery (10/7-11/2, opening reception 10/7, 6-8 PM). One of the included paintings, Moonstone, was one of 35 works out of over 2,400 applicants to receive a Certificate of Excellence in the Portrait Society of America’s International Portrait Competition last spring. See the artist’s Studio Views post on ArtSake.

Charles Coe is among the artists selected for the Boston Artists-in-Residence Program.

Mary Jane Doherty will have the West Coast premiere of her documentary Primaria at the San Francisco Dance Film Festival (10/23, 2 PM).

Tory Fair has a solo show of drawing/sculpture hybrids, Tory Fair: Paperweight at VERY in Boston (thru 10/22).

Jake Fried‘s animation was featured on the science technology/pop culture blog io9.

Georgie Friedman has unveiled a site-specific video installation at the Strand Theatre in Dorchester, Traces of Wind and Water (thru 11/14), part of her work as a City of Boston Artist in Residence Program. There is a Boston AIR reception 11/14 at the Strand.

Beth Galston has a solo show at the Cynthia Reeves Gallery in North Adams (thru 11/13).

Marky Kauffmann was invited to participate in the Berlin Foto Biennale after being named a finalist in the 2015 Julia Margaret Cameron Award for Women Photographers. Also, she’ll exhibit in the group show Mirror with a Memory at the Peter Miller Gallery in Providence, RI (10/20-11/12, opening reception 10/20, 5-9 PM).

Lisa Kessler received a George Gund Foundation commission to photograph in the Cleveland public schools. The photography collection will be on exhibit at the Cleveland Public Main Library in downtown Cleveland (thru 10/28). A smaller traveling exhibit will be on display at several library branches around the city.

Colleen Kiely will have a solo show at the Simmons College Trustman Art Gallery (10/11-11/9, opening reception 10/20, 5-7 PM, artist’s talk 10/26, 12-1 PM). She’ll also have work in the pop-up exhibit Stark Naked at Gallery Kayafas, 10/16, 7-10 PM.

Niho Kozuru has a solo show, Positive Vibration, at Miller Yezerski Gallery (thru 11/15).

Dawn Kramer, along with Stephen Buck, will participate in this year’s Roslindale Open Studios (10/22-10/23).

Yary Livan was featured in the Lowell Sun.

Melinda Lopez has a new play, Mala, at ArtsEmerson (10/27-11/20). Also, she contributed a short play to Still Waiting a series of vignettes created to accompany the play Waiting for Lefty at Boston College Robsham Theatre (10/13-10/16).

Tara Masih is the Series Editor for the annual Best Small Fictions series, which just published the 2016 edition.

Rania Matar has photography in the exhibition Mortal Things: Portraits Look Back and Forth at Tufts University Art Center (thru 12/4). Her solo show Becoming: Girls, Women, and Coming of Age exhibits at Pictura Gallery in Bloomington, IN (10/7-11/26, opening reception 10/7 5-8 PM, artist talk 10/11, 7 PM). In December, that same gallery will exhibit Rania’s work in Pulse Miami. Her work is included in Aftermath: The Fallout of War – America and the Middle East at Harn Museum of Art in Gainesville, FL (thru 12/ 31. artist talk 10/23, 2 PM) Her work is also exhibiting at Galerie Janine Rubeiz, Beirut Lebanon and at C. Grimaldis Gallery

Mary Bucci McCoy is in the experimental group exhibition Fiction (With Only Daylight Between Us) at boeckercontemporary in Heidelberg, Germany (10/15-31). Also, she will have a public conversation with Brooklyn artist David Mann at Rafius Fane Gallery in SoWa, Boston (10/8, 2-4 PM).

Joshua Meyer has a solo show, Seek My Face: The Art of Joshua Meyer, 2000-2016 at The Dortort Center for Creativity in the Arts at UCLA (thru 12/23, reception 10/27, 7-9 PM).

Richard Michelson was featured in WBUR Radio for his children’s book about Leonard Nimoy, Fascinating.

Nathalie Miebach is in the group show Intersections: Artists Master Line and Space at Akron Art Museum (thru 1/15). Also, she’ll give a talk at Ohio Wesleyan University (10/19, 7 PM) as part of the Sagan National Colloquium.

Ethan Murrow has a large-scale wall drawing in Escape Routes at the John Michael Kohler Art Center in Sheboygan, WI (thru 1/15). See an interview about the process.

Jendi Reiter‘s debut novel Two Natures was published in September by Saddle Road Press. Broadside Bookshop in Northampton, MA is hosting her local book launch (10/19, 7 PM).

Jo Ann Rothschild will exhibit work in the Fall Open House at the Studio at 535 Albany Street in Boston (10/27, 5-8 PM).

Samuel Rowlett has a solo exhibition of recent multimedia work, A Thing Not Planned for Imagery or Belief, on view in the South Gallery at Greenfield Community College (thru 11/3). There will be a gallery talk 10/26, 12 PM, and a closing reception 11/2, 5:30-7 PM.

James Rutenbeck‘s film Class of ’27 is an Editor’s Pick from The Atlantic.

Jane Smaldone‘s exhibition Rocks & Roses and The Return of the Fox shows at Clark Gallery in Lincoln (thru 10/31).

Stephen Tourlentes has work in the group exhibition Surveillance at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, MO (thru 1/29).

Joe Wardwell has a solo show at LaMontagne Gallery in Winchester (thru 11/11) and another exhibition, Soon I Will Be President at Southern New Hampshire University McIninch Art Gallery (11/3-12/17, opening reception and artist talk 11/3, 5-7 PM).

Cary Wolinsky has a solo exhibition of photography, Cary Wolinsky: Fiber of Life at Fuller Craft Museum (10/8-2/26, opening reception 11/6, 2-5 PM).

Jung Yun reads from her novel Shelter at Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C. in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month (10/5, 6-8 PM), sponsored by the Asian/Pacific Islander Domestic Violence Resource Project.

Angela Zammarelli is exhibiting in the group show The Unity of Opposites at A.P.E. Gallery in Northampton, MA (thru 10/30, opening reception 10/14, 5-8 PM). She is currently in residence at The Studios at MASS MoCA and will be participating in an open studios 10/19, 5-7 PM.

Read past Fellows Notes. If you’re a past fellow/finalist with news, let us know.

Images and media: Shelley Reed, ON THE WALL (AFTER HONDECOETER) (2010), oil on canvas, 48×36 in; Alexandra Anthony’s interview from the 40 Years of Fellowships Project.

MCC Literary Awardees Read at Forbes Library

Monday, October 3rd, 2016

Every two years, the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) awards grants to some of the most talented writers and poets working in the Commonwealth. Literary artists awarded through MCC’s Artist Fellowships Program will share work at the Forbes Library on Wednesday, October 19, 2016, 7 PM.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016, 7 PM
Forbes Library, 20 West Street, Northampton MA
Readers:
D M Gordon
Heather Kamins
Richard Michelson
Sarah Sousa
Elizabeth Witte

Find the event on Facebook.

The event is free, accessible, and open to the public. Watch for more events with MCC-awarded writers and poets in the weeks and months ahead.

Historic Artist Opportunities

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

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Of Note: The National Museum of African American History & Culture has opened in Washington DC.

Poets Entries are now being accepted for the New Criterion’s Poetry Prize of $3,000 and publication by St. Augustine’s Press. The prize is given annually for a poetry collection that pays close attention to form. Erica Dawson, Roger Kimball, and David Yezzi will judge. Submit a manuscript of up to 60 pages with a $25 entry fee byVisit the website for complete guidelines. Learn more.
Deadline:  September 30, 2016

Artist Business Grants MASS MoCA’s Assets for Artists program is seeking Boston-based applicants for its Matched Savings Program, which supports creative entrepreneurs with a matching grant and artist-focused business and financial training. Eligible applicants must have a home or studio address in the City of Boston. Learn more.
Deadline: September 30, 2016

Poets, Fiction Writers Entries are currently being accepted for the University of Massachusetts Press Juniper Prizes. Four prizes of $1,000 each and publication by University of Massachusetts Press are given annually for a first poetry collection, a poetry collection, a short story collection, and a novel or novella. Learn more.
Deadline: September 30, 2016

Short Fiction Entries are now being accepted for the University of Iowa Press Short Fiction Awards. Two awards of publication by University of Iowa Press are given annually for first collections of short fiction. Writers who have not published a book of fiction are eligible. Learn more.
Deadline: September 30, 2016

MCC Artist Fellowships The Massachusetts Cultural Council is currently accepting Artist Fellowship applications for Crafts, Dramatic Writing, and Sculpture/Installation/New Genres. Artist Fellowships are unrestricted, anonymously judged grants for Massachusetts artists in recognition of artistic excellence. Fellowship awards are currently $12,000. Finalist awards are $1,000. Learn more.
Deadline: Monday, October 3, 2016

STARS Residencies The Massachusetts Cultural Council’s STARS Residencies Program (Students and Teachers Working with Artists, Scientists, and Scholars) provides grants of $500-$5,000 to schools to support creative learning residencies of three days or more in the arts, sciences, and humanities. Learn more.
Application opens October 6, 2016 at 4pm

Videos, Animations, Computer Generated Work Proposals for the next round of Art on the Marquee are currently being accepted. Looking for work 30 second videos, animations or computer generated work, that use the entire Marquee in creative ways. Please submit a storyboard, statement, work samples, and CV to info@bostoncyberarts.org The call is limited to artists who live anywhere in the state of Massachusetts. Learn more.
Deadline: October 16th, 2016 (midnight)

Boston Choreographers The Boston Foundation and The Aliad Fund have announced Next Steps for Boston Dance, a new grant program that provides multi-layered support for Boston-area choreographers creating original work in any genre. Offers 250 hours of rehearsal space; 6-10 consultations with experts in chosen areas of need/interest; $5,000 in implementation funds for the artist to take a “next step” in his/her work or career; a series of cohort meetings to connect choreographers, build relationships, and allow for co-learning. A minimum of three grants will be awarded in this pilot round/first year of Next Steps. Learn more.
Deadline: Oct 24, 2016 at 5pm

Ten-minute Plays Submissions of ten-minute plays by New England playwrights are now being accepted for the Boston Theater Marathon XIX to be held May 14, 2017, at the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts. Learn more.
Deadline: November 15, 2016

Writing Conference Scholarships If you’re interested in attending Muse and the Marketplace, GrubStreet’s national conference for writers, in Boston Spring 2017 but could use financial support, GrubStreet is offering numerous $250 scholarships for attendees. Learn more.
Deadline: November 21, 2016

Image credit: Circa 1940s: “Miss America.” (Joe Schwartz). From the photography collection of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Event with MCC Literary and Dance Awardees at New Art Center

Tuesday, September 6th, 2016

A gallery featuring artists in an event at New Art Center Sept. 30

State-honored writers and poets will read and an awarded choreographer will perform at the New Art Center in Newton, MA on Friday, September 30, 2016. The event is in conjunction with the MCC Artist Fellows in Painting, Choreography, Drawing & Printmaking, and Traditional Arts exhibition (Sept 16-Oct 15) and will begin with a performance by MCC Choreography Fellow Candice Salyers, followed by a reading of Fellows/Finalists in the literary arts. Both the reading and the performance will take place in the exhibition space where art by MCC Fellows will be on view.

New Art Center, 61 Washington Park, Newtonville MA
Friday, September 30, 2016
6:30 PM performance by Candice Salyers
7 PM reading by:
Jane Dykema
Michael Lowenthal
Shubha Sunder
Sheryl White
Kris Willcox

Find the event on Facebook.

Also exhibiting concurrent with this event, in New Art Center’s Holzwasser Gallery, is a dual show by NAC students Irwin E. Thompson & Ingrid Scheibler, Pathways to Abstraction. The opening reception for Pathways to Abstraction will take place 5-7 PM that same evening (9/30), so arrive early for a multi-disciplinary experience in the arts.

Watch for more events featuring MCC literary awardees in the weeks and months ahead.

Art from Surprising Places

Friday, July 8th, 2016

Maybe it’s the unremarkable visit to the grocery store that sparks an idea for a new project. Or the stultifying job that drives frantic art-making at night. Sometimes, unexpected places prove crucial to the artistic process, be it in the inspiration, the making of, or both.

As part of our periodic questions to artists about their work and lives, we asked: Has a surprising or unusual locale ever proven a boon to your art-making?

Cover art from THE POINT OF VANISHING (Beacon Press, 2015) by Howard Axelrod

Howard Axelrod, writer
Several readers have asked whether I wrote my memoir, The Point of Vanishing, which is about living in solitude in northern Vermont, while I was living in solitude in northern Vermont. I didn’t. I wrote it mostly in a house just outside of Boston, in my apartment on the third floor, in a room facing a busy street, the windows closed against the noise of deliveries at the local taqueria, and the blinds closed against the sun. Readers tend to find this image, rather than the romantic one of a writer at a rough-hewn desk overlooking the mountains, disappointing.

But the outpost that inspires writing isn’t necessarily conducive to it. To write, it helps me to be in a place that doesn’t call for my attention — to be above a street I can easily forget and then easily return to, to be in a place whose grandeur is less than that of the place I’m writing about. Of course, it helps to have traveled back from a place, like the northern Vermont woods, that I can’t help but remember.

Cecelia Raker, playwright
I am not a morning person. I have visions of my someday self awakening with the sunrise birds and blissfully churning out pages with a cup of steaming tea… yeah, nope, that’s not me. I will stay up until 3am and then sleep until 1pm if you let me. I try not to let me, because of weird stuff like human relationships and day jobs.

I am, however, an airplane person. I remember as a kid staring for hours out the tiny windows, making up stories about the towering clouds’ lives. I love the whoosh of takeoff, the stomach-scramble of turbulence, the patchwork of little lives laid out below.

Unfortunately, given that I’m also an artist on a tight budget, I most often end up on airplanes that leave very early in the morning – cranky, disheveled, exhausted. These seats are not a bed. The air smells recycled. Nothing is beautiful or inspiring. Put that window down, I’m trying to sleep.

So imagine my surprise when I discovered by accident that crack-of-dawn air travel seems to be the exact cocktail I need to write more prolifically than I ever do while grounded. Something about being suspended in a fragile metal wing-can miles above my planet makes me believe that anything I make while in that space won’t be too significant—and somehow that short-circuits my usual loop of procrastination and perfectionism, and I land with a journal full of decently usable and sometimes even funny scenes. I wish airlines had writers’ residencies.

Stephen Mishol, visual artist
My drawings are studio fictions but much of the catalyst for this grew out of my time living in Boston’s South End, on the edge of all the construction that was taking place there at the time. Even though my work doesn’t document a specific place and depends on collections of information from many places, the qualities of that landscape informed much of my work and still does to this day – the diffused light, the compression of forms, and the manner in which the city seemed to reinvent itself on a daily basis.

In that environment, it was easy to experience extreme change – from the open horizon of the sea, to the congestion of the city. In addition, over time, as the landscape became more fused with construction, it developed a very muscular ability to redirect and alter progress and perception as one traveled through it.

Eventually, I came to view the city more as an equation of division and accumulation, reflecting shifts in aesthetics, politics and necessity. To this day, my drawings are still influenced by that time and like that environment, I continue to see them as equations in the process of defining themselves.

Stephen Mishol, SOFT HORIZON (2015), Graphite on paper, 22x30in

 

Howard Axelrod is the author of the memoir The Point of Vanishing: A Memoir of Two Years in Solitude. His writing has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Shambhala Sun, and the Boston Globe, among other publications, and he has taught at Grub Street in Boston.

Stephen Mishol is a visual artist who teaches at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. He has received MCC fellowships in both Drawing & Printmaking and Painting and is represented by Miller Yezerski Gallery in Boston.

Cecelia Raker is a 2016 PlayLab Fellow with Company One Theatre in Boston. Her play “La Llorona,” which recently received an Honorable Mention on the 2016 Kilroys List, will have a reading at Company One on July 24. The play will go on to have a workshop at Fresh Ink Theatre in September, with a full production planned for May ’17.

Fellows Notes – Jun 16

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

Summery news from current and past MCC Artist Fellows/Finalists.

Nathalie Miebach, BLUEBERRIES (2016), Wood, rope, paper, reed, 10x6x9 in

Congratulations to Ilisa Barbash, Jane Gillooly, Lucien Castaing-Taylor, and Lucia Small, all of whom will receive funding from the LEF Foundation as part of their Spring 2016 Moving Image Fund awards.

Carrie Bennett and Frannie Lindsay join Jennifer Barber for a poetry reading at Porter Square Books on 6/8, 7 PM and another at Newtonville Books on 6/16, 7PM.

Five new works created by teams of women artists – which include four past MCC awardees – will be presented as the latest Art on the Marquee by Boston Cyberarts. Ambreen Butt, Mags Harries, Nathalie Miebach, and Deb Todd Wheeler are all creating work for the 80-foot-tall multi-screen LED marquee outside the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (opening reception 6/1, 6:30-8:30 PM).

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Elizabeth Alexander will have a solo exhibition, Spring Will Be a Little Late This Year at Boston Sculptors Gallery (6/8-7/17, artists reception 6/11, 2-5 PM).

Sandra Allen is among the artists in exhibiting in TreeMuse at the Suffolk University Art Gallery (6/9-7-7, reception 6/9, 5-7 PM).

Claire Beckett‘s solo exhibition Converts at Carroll & Sons Gallery received a great review in the Boston Globe. Her work was also featured on Slate.com.

Congratulations to Sari Boren, who was awarded a 2016 Emerging Artist Grant from the St. Botolph Club Foundation. Recently, her essay Failure to Ignite; A Body at Rest was published in the literary journal Hobart.

Christy Georg is artist-in-residence in the Kohler Arts/Industry Program thru July 2016.

Michael Hoerman recently published three poems in the Spring 2016 issue of Eureka Literary Magazine. This summer, he attends the inaugural Sedona Arts Center residency in Sedona, AZ.

Danielle Legros Georges received the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from Emerson College in May.

Holly Lynton has a solo exhibition of her series Bare Handed in the Filter Photo Festival in Chicago, IL (6/3-6/23, opening reception 6/3, 6-9 PM). She recently participated in the FIX Photo Festival in London, exhibiting with Laura Noble Gallery, and she was part of Photo Finish at Station Independent Projects in NYC.

Julie Mallozzi has launched a crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo for her film project, The Circle.

Thomas McNeely‘s novel Ghost Horse was recently on the shortlist for the 2016 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing (winner to be announced later this summer) and as a finalist for the 2015 Lascaux Prize in Fiction.

Richard Michelson will read (with David Giannini) as part of the Collected Poets Series at Mocha Maya’s Coffee House in Shelburne Falls (6/2, 7 PM).

Congratulations to Nathalie Miebach, who won a Virginia A. Groot Foundation Grant. She exhibits a new body of work, The Little Ones, at Miller Yezerski Gallery (thru 7/5, opening reception 6/3, 6-8 PM). As noted above, she’s one of the artists featured in Boston Cyberarts’ latest Art on the Marquee.

Sue Murad will premiere her new film, A Visitor’s Guide to Reorientation on Spectacle Island, co-created with Maria Molteni and Hermione Spriggs. The 20-minute film will screen as part of the Fort Point Arts Community Spring Open Studios, at the FPAC Space at Envoy Hotel, (6/17, 7:30, 8:30, and 9 PM).

Anne Neely has a solo show, Ireland: Place and Ritual at the Paul Dietrich Gallery (thru 7/8).

Mary O’Donoghue was featured on Christopher Lydon’s NPR program Radio Open Source on a program called Ireland Rises Again!

Lisa Olivieri‘s film Blindsided was featured in Boston Spirit Magazine.

Cecelia Raker will have readings for her play-in-progress La Llorona, first with Playwrights’ Reading Room at Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood (6/6, 7 PM), and then with Fresh Ink Theatre at Boston Public Library (6/14, 6:30 PM). This past year, she has been a Company One PlayLab Fellow and in July, she’ll have work in the PlayLab Fellowship showcase (7/24).

Monica Raymond has poems and a play monologue in the literary journal Drunken Boat.

Shelley Reed has an exhibition, up close, at Sears Peyton Gallery in New York (thru 6/18).

Congratulations to Anna Ross, whose new poetry chapbook Figuring is now available.

Emily Ross and her recent novel Half in Love with Death were featured in a recent Boston Globe article.

Eric Henry Sanders has a radio play to be read in the Life in the 413 event at New Century Theatre in Northampton (6/4, 7 PM).

Ben Sloat is one of the artists in the three-person show Uncannyland at One Mile Gallery in Kingston, NY (6/4-6/25, opening reception 6/4, 6-9 PM).

Naoe Suzuki had an artist residency at the Studios at MASS MoCA, organized by the Assets for Artists Initiative, in April. In 2016, she is Artist in Residence at Broad Institute, a collaborative community pioneering a new model of biomedical research, based in Cambridge, MA. Check out Naoe’s Tumblr site for her project Flow, an extension of the participatory installation she created at UMass Lowell last year.

Jung Yun‘s novel Shelter got a great review in the Briefly Noted section of The New Yorker. She has an article, My Fargo, in the April edition of The Atlantic.

Read past Fellows Notes. If you’re a past fellow/finalist with news, let us know.

Image: Nathalie Miebach, BLUEBERRIES (2016), Wood, rope, paper, reed, 10x6x9 in.

MCC Announces 35 Awards in Choreography, Fiction/Creative Nonfiction, and Painting

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

Nicole Duennebier, TUNICATE AND GOLDEN SAC (2014), acrylic on panel, 48x34 in

The Massachusetts Cultural Council is honored to announce the 2016 MCC Artist Fellowship awards in Choreography, Fiction/Creative Nonfiction, and Painting. Eighteen artists will receive fellowships of $12,000, and 17 artists will receive $1,000 finalist awards. See a full list of this year’s fellows and finalists.

The awards are anonymously judged, based solely on the artistic quality and creative ability of the work submitted. Applications were open to all eligible Massachusetts artists. A total number of 1109 applications were received: 54 in Choreography, 485 in Fiction/Creative Nonfiction, and 570 in Painting.

From 2125 STANLEY STREET by Dahlia Nayar

Cover art for SHELTER (Picador 2016) by Jung Yun

The Choreography panelists were Junichi Fukuda, James Morrow, Cheri Opperman, and Sydney Skybetter.

The Fiction/Creative Nonfiction panelists were Jane Brox, Kristiana Kahakauwila, Helen Elaine Lee, and Mehdi Tavana Okasi; the readers were Alicia Anstead, Sybil Baker, LaShonda Barnett, Sarah Blackman, Lydia Conklin, Steven Edwards, Joseph Fazio, Sheba Karim, Kate Leary, Tien-Yi Lee, William Peters, and Harry Stecopoulos.

The Painting panelists were Philip Brou, Gwen Strahle, Azadeh Tajpour, and Mary Tinti.

This is the second series of Artist Fellowships awards to be given by the MCC in 2016. In February 2016, MCC announced 32 awards in Drawing & Printmaking, Poetry, and Traditional Arts.

Find a full list of 2016 Artist Fellowships awardees.

Catherine Kehoe, STILL LIFE WITH WHITE PEONY (2015), oil on panel, 8x8 in

Raul Gonzalez III, EL MALVERDE (2012), fluid acrylic, pencil and pen, 12x9.5 in

Images: Nicole Duennebier, TUNICATE AND GOLDEN SAC (2014), acrylic on panel, 48×34 in; still photo from 2125 STANLEY STREET by Dahlia Nayar; cover art for SHELTER (Picador 2016) by Jung Yun; Catherine Kehoe, STILL LIFE WITH WHITE PEONY (2015), oil on panel, 8×8 in; Raul Gonzalez III, EL MALVERDE (2012), fluid acrylic, pencil and pen, 12×9.5 in.


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